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Prudential Life, Strategic Youth Network for Development partner to restore depleted mangroves in Ada

Prudential Life Insurance and Strategic Youth Network for Development planted 2,000 seedlings in various mangroves at the Ramsar sites in the area.

Prudential Life Insurance Ghana and Strategic Youth Network for Development (SYND), a non-governmental organisation working on climate and environmental sustainability, have joined forces with the Forestry Commission to recover depleted mangrove forests in Obane.

They took the initiative to Obane on this year’s Green Ghana Day. They planted 2,000 seedlings in various mangroves at the Ramsar sites in the area.

Prudential Life Insurance Ghana funded the planting.

Ghana has a mangrove cover of about 72.4 km2 with over 18 million trees, the Forestry Commission estimated.

However, recent studies by the Commission indicate a significant decline in the country’s mangrove forests.

Many factors, such as urbanisation, overexploitation, pollution, wildfires, and climate change, are the leading causes of depletion.

In recent years, residents in the country’s wetlands have shown interest in restoring the depleted mangroves.

In Ada Foah Obane, in the Ada East District of the Greater Accra region, a wetland that has also been declared a Ramsar site, mangrove depletion has been significant.

Eric Tetteh Addo Wusah, the youth committee secretary in Obane, said the depletion has occurred over the years due to climate change and other human activities.

A similar situation pertains to the Volta region‘s Keta and Anloga districts, where residents commonly use the plant as firewood, process fish, and build fences for homes and gardens.

The executive coordinator of SYND Ghana, Chibeze Ezekiel, said facts on the ground and from the forestry commission show that restoring the country’s vegetation will be incomplete without protecting wetlands to support the lives of people who live in places like Obane.

He said, “More so, the project will also support the fishing occupation in the area, boost the local economy and create a safe environment for the current and future generations”.

He thanked the Forestry Commission for their expertise and Prudential Life Insurance for funding the project.

Chibeze, therefore, called on other organizations to support the initiative in covering different areas.

The planting was a pilot project that would be upscaled to cover other areas in similar situations.

Adam Burge, the chief financial officer at Prudential Life Insurance Ghana, said they funded the initiative because it aligned with their business purpose: to be partners in every life and protectors of every future.

In addition, the project aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Prudential Life’s sustainability goals of enhancing education, health, and safety.

The head of sustainability at Prudential Life Insurance, Emmanuel Hammond, commended the fact that the staff of Prudential Life, community members, the forestry commission, and the volunteers of SYND were directly involved to ensure that every seed was planted and optimistic that they would be well cared for.

He added that they are considering a five-year plan to plant more mangroves to improve the community’s resilience to environmental challenges.

“Apart from the 2000 mangrove seedlings planted at Obane, Prudential Life has supported the distribution of 15000 seedlings in other communities since 2022,” Hammond told the media.

According to the insurance firm, the project will help build climate change-resilient communities in the country, ensuring a safer and more secure future for all.

Importance of mangrove forests

Mangroves play an essential role in the ecosystem. Research by the USA Forest Service showed that mangrove forests absorb roughly 50 times more carbon dioxide emissions than any other tree. It also absorbs other greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.

The roots of mangroves serve as shelter for life underwater. They slow down the flow of water. This leads to a build-up of soil which otherwise would have been eroded.

Freshwater birds use the mangroves as their shelter.

Mangrove forests, when appropriately managed, serve as a source of livelihood for residents through fishing.

Mangroves also control the currents of a lake or river, especially in estuaries. This helps prevent flooding-related disasters that commonly occur in coastal areas.

Reporting by Albert Kuzor in the Volta Region

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